Altair Cuts Solar Inspection and Analysis Time by Over 50%
O&M customer leverages drones and Raptor Solar to improve Asset Management
A US-based, solar asset owner-operator looked to cut costs and increase their power production. As their portfolio of commercial and utility-scale PV assets under management grew beyond 50 MW across the Northeast US, they reached a critical point. Struggling to hire skilled technicians fast enough and looking to make their operations more efficient, they reached out to Raptor maps using inspection
from Altair Inspections. The company initially connected with Raptor Maps at a solar PV event. After learning about aerial inspections, artificial-intelligence and that predictive maintenance cuts reactive repair costs by over 60%, the client wanted to
incorporate Drone Thermal Inspection technology through a proof-of-concept (POC) inspection and analysis.
Compared to our in-field inspection, Drone Inspection reports were 100% accurate.
For the POC, the client chose a 1 MW solar PV site
(Note: Altair Inspections scales from sub-megawatt sites to gigawatt portfolios). The system constantly sent hundreds of alerts for the potentially affected sub-arrays, but there were difficulties classifying and localizing the causes of power production loss. On average, to manually inspect this site, it would take a two person team 25 hours (for a detailed in-field examination),
with initial labor costs exceeding $1,500/MW. Providing actionable analytics and streamlined reports, Altair aimed to meet the client’s goal: detect sources of lost production and build an internal business case for deployment across the entire portfolio.
The drone inspection was performed on-site by Aerial Thermal Inspections using drones. The inspection took less than 1 hour to perform, on a clear, sunny day with system irradiation above 600 W/m². The pilot captured both infrared (thermal) and high resolution (RGB) imagery of the entire site. Our data collection standards allow for an 80% shorter drone flight, while preserving data quality. The captured data was analyzed with an AI solar software solution which reviewed, accurately identified, and localized all anomalies. Upon completion of post-processing, we found 50+ site anomalies affecting more than 70 kW of lost power production in total.
Our client’s O&M team performed a thorough field examination of all analytics presented in our deliverables and found 100% accuracy. With the the implementation of drone inspection, the client’s team was able to cut routine inspection time by more than 50%, resulting in reduced OPEX costs and optimized system performance. The client is now scaling drones and thermal inspections across their solar portfolio of commercial and utility-scale assets.
Reduce management costs and optimize portfolio production by reaching out to us through www.altairinspections.com.
Kick start your Altair proof-of-concept now.
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